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By Bridget Baker
You wake up in the morning and think, “Today’s the day I’ll get all my errands done, meditate, write in my journal, market my business, and check off all those unchecked boxes.” Halfway through the day, however, you find your energy waning, your productivity slumping, and you slug down a cup of coffee to give you the boost you need to get it all done.
No matter how many phone apps, timers, alerts, or gadgets you have to help you save time, some tasks take as long as they take, regardless of these “timesavers.” Even after doing more than you thought you would, or could, in a day, you still feel like there is so much you should be doing, or that you want to be doing. If only you had more time, you could go get a massage or write that novel.
Between meetings, lunches, phone calls, kid drop-offs, and errands, our days can be filled to the brim with to-dos. On top of all this, we may dream of having time to ourselves, but instead, just end up adding on more “scheduled” fun, by having set times to make it to a play, a dinner, or an outing. Even our playtime becomes regimented.
Let’s face it. You are already slaying your day like a boss, and when you take a moment to stop and think about it, you may be accomplishing more than you realize on a regular basis. What if doing more was not the answer to being more productive? What if you could be at peace with what you’ve accomplished and give yourself an actual break?
I’m not talking about a vacation here. Traveling can be a fantastic way to refresh and recharge, but it involves lots of transit, planning, and detail. No, I’m suggesting instead something you can do anywhere in the world — and for free!
Fueled by Instagram posts and “grass-is-always-greener” syndrome, we get this urge to do more, have more, BE more! When is it enough? When do we just surrender and let it all go? When do we realize that doing so much may actually be getting in the way of accomplishing more?
Soak that one in for a minute.
Being busy does not mean being productive necessarily. For productivity, you need to be relaxed, focused, calm, and clear.
What if you could just do less? Rather than trying to be more efficient, or find ways to fit more into your already packed day, what if you could just take a timeout? What if you could find value and purpose in merely doing…nothing?
By “nothing,” I don’t mean meditating, or taking a bubble bath, or getting a massage. I mean absolutely nothing. Some of the most productive people take this kind of break, and it’s what gives them the mental clarity and physical rest needed to get more done. If you find yourself running around in a frenzy, just stop.
Here are a few reasons why doing less creates space for more:
You can get perspective.
When you take a break, you make room for the big ideas to come in. You shut out all that noise, and your creativity can flourish.
Your body can get the rest it needs.
When you rest and relax, you increase your vitality. You’d be amazed at what just a couple of nights with not enough sleep can do to the way you function.
Your mind can quiet.
The stress of it all can begin to melt away when you let yourself just relax with nowhere to be, no agenda, and nothing to do.
You can relish your accomplishments.
What if how much you’ve already done in your life, your relationship, or your business were already enough? What if all you needed to do was to just bask in the glow of a life well-lived?
You can learn to say no.
If someone asks what you’re doing while you’re enjoying doing nothing, there is no need to tell them “I’m busy;” you can just learn to say no. When that person asks what you’re doing, you can instead just say, “Oh, nothing.” Let nothing be enough.
It’s time to let go of the idea that doing nothing means we’re lazy, and to bask in the afterglow of the nothingness with a rested body and a quieted mind. Take a time-out from all the noise of the world, and just let the subtle art of doing nothing be your guru.
bridget baker | web presence sherpa| productivity hacker | digital nomad | freelance blogger |minimalist adventurer | speaker |
my mission: be clear. be simple. be you!